After an intensive, four-year development phase, Nike has just introduced its SFB military boot. It rethinks all the standard features: Thanks to an upper made with synthetic leather and polyester, it requires no break in and dries quickly; the foam sole radically reduces the boot’s weight; it’s also protected from punctures with a thermoplastic forefoot shield, and a puncture-resistant layer of leather and kevlar in the sole.
Nike promises that it’s the lightest, fastest drying boot on the market. And though it’s not going to be standard issue for the Army, the design cannily addresses an under-appreciated market. Soldiers and contractors are a particularly gear-obsessed bunch. They don’t settle for the standard issue when something better exists. Going off to war, they spend $150 million dollars each year, fitting themselves with gear in the name of safety and style—we’re talking $200 flashlights, $150 sunglasses, and everything in between. As the Christian Science Monitor notes, the market has grown from essentially zero on September 10, 2001. Boots are a particular weak point in the army’s standard issue equipment. But there is one weirdly off-key detail in the new Nike boots: What’s up with the skeleton outline on the
treads insoles? Wouldn’t that be considered bad luck?